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Can Myles Davis Win Minutes at Shooting Guard This Year?

Will this season determine the future of Xavier's somewhat snakebitten shooting guard?

You and I both, buddy.
You and I both, buddy.
Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

There is a very real sense in which the basketball world has not been kind to Myles Davis. Sure, he was blessed with division one talent and the work ethic and opportunities to take advantage of it, but he has endured some tough breaks of late. His academics were questionable out of high school, so he delayed his entrance to college by a year to go to prep school. Then he was dealt another blow when he was ruled an academic non-qualifier on the basis of classes that other players were not penalized for.

Finally, two years after he finished high school, Myles Davis was able to play college basketball for the first time last season. Things initially went to plan, as he was a lethal three-point shooter and capable enough in the other aspects of the game that Coach Mack kept giving him extended burn. Eleven games into the season, he was 28-60 (46.7%) from behind the arc and had played at least 17 minutes in each game but the season opener.

Then a shooting slump set in. After the Crosstown Shootout, Davis was 13-64 (20.3%) from behind the arc, losing first his confidence and then his minutes as the trump card of his game fell away. He increasingly saw himself used as a last-gasp off the bench instead of a vital cog in the machine, scoring five points and making one field goal in Xavier's last eight games.

Now, even though he is just a sophomore, Davis may be looking at the crossroads of his college career. Wing Trevon Bluiett and guards JP Macura and Remy Abell are both capable of scoring from beyond the arc, and Abell has the further advantages of a year in the system and a reputation as a very good defender. Myles doesn't have the speed or ball-handling to fill that kind of role in the back court, but even if he did, Edmond Sumner, Brandon Randolph, Larry Austin, Jr., and Dee Davis make for some stiff competition for minutes.

It seems likely that Remy Abell will be the starting shooting guard to begin the year, but the scramble for the best minutes behind him is very much alive. If Davis wants to claim them, there are two routes for him. One is to hone his all-around game enough to be a serviceable second guard off the bench. The other is to shoot like he did early last season, becoming such a disruptive force that he dismantles opposing defensive plans. With the depth and youth of Xavier's guards, the beginning of this season may mark Myles's final chance to become a staple of Coach Mack's rotation.